Personal Growth - Winds of change
by Harvinder Kaur
I am sitting on the seashore at Pondicherry. There are big boulders, on which the waves come crashing again and again, leaving melting patterns of foam, which again become waves that crash. And so it goes on. It’s never still, the sea. Never! A calm sea simply means the waves and movement are something we humans can handle. It’s not a tsunami, that’s all!
So much like life. It’s never still. Never! Or it wouldn’t be life. Stasis is an illusion of the mind. So long as life is, change is inevitable. The earth rotates and revolves, as do the other planets, and other cosmic bodies. In the womb of the earth, there is the movement of life. On the canvas of the sky, various forces sweep their strokes. It is there in our hearts where emotions run like water, changing their form, but flowing.
Change is not sudden, though it may appear to be so sometimes. It usually begins with a whisper, mostly unheard, like the delicate flutter of a butterfly’s wings. If you do hear it, it’s only to ignore it. Till it changes to a roar. It manifests as a distinct event or happening at times – a marriage, a change of job, shifting places, meeting new people, a break- up, an illness, or learning something new. A change is the realisation of an ‘isness’ at a certain level. It is an external manifestation of an internal movement. Within the individual, and also outside, in the world or society at large, we live in a whirlpool of movement. The mind is like a moving kaleidoscope of thought patterns, interspersed with emotional spaces.
External change is a culmination point. It occurs when a process announces its presence, or a certain movement manifests a phenomenon, which has been going on. Change is not arbitrary. The heart doesn’t have an attack for an arbitrary reason, those arteries have been clogging for quite some time. Divorce is not a sudden volcanic eruption. Emotions, thoughts, and differences, have been simmering for long. Even when it is a fast and furious relationship, the personalities of the individuals concerned take a long time to form.
There are some of us who make changes easily, almost crave them, while for others change is frightful, or has no lure. Mind you, not all movement leads to positive change or growth. You can go round like a broken record and produce no music. If the rolling stone gathers no moss, and stagnant waters stink, then what is the right course? How does one recognise that the time is ripe to make a switch? I can speak for myself. For me it has been a ripening, an inner feeling that grows and grows, till it becomes so strong that it cannot be ignored. At times my body has recognised and responded to an energy shift faster than my mind, and I am plagued by breathlessness, or aches and pains, which seem to have no physical origin or explanation. While the left side of my head loses itself to syllogisms, the right side of my head has already spoken to my body. This literally forces me to change. It is different from a desire, it is like an inner inevitability. To suppress or ignore it would be to live a lie. Usually it begins with an idea, often born of discontent or dissatisfaction of the present situation, then it takes a form, a vision – perhaps it would be better if we could do it like this. If the current situation doesn’t permit this, I start searching for how it can be done, or at least come nearest to it.
Harvinder is an educationist, poet and writer.
She explores education deeply, much like
her own heart When I first started as a young teacher, I felt education should mean freedom for the child; it must be more meaningful and deeper, where the emotional fabric of the child is deeply affected, and transformed, not a perfunctory scratching of the surface. It should mean growth for the teacher too. I quit my job, wondered, and searched for something ‘different’. Then I stumbled upon a very different kind of educational institution – one without uniforms or rigidity where education touched the whole being of the child and sought to transform it. Where teachers could introspect and grow. There was a catch, though – there was no salary, you had to work for free but would be given board and lodging. I did, and have lived to look back on that period as one of the most meaningful phases of my life.
If movement is a constant, why are we afraid of change so often? Patterns and their repetition seem so natural. Water flows more easily on a path which is already moist; it is easier and generally more sensible to walk on familiar terrain than constantly charter new paths. That’s where the catch is – habit. We want to walk on the familiar path even if it is a blind alley. If more people are taking it, so much the better. Yes, change is scary. Otherwise it wouldn’t be change. There is almost always a risk involved. You don’t know what lies ahead when you marry or take up a new job. Not entirely. Sometimes your own idea or what you dreamt, falls flat on its face. The unknown challenges us. I have personally used rationality, but find that the more significant changes in life are a ‘happening,’ rather than a left brained choice or organised events. Synchro-destiny is more than a fancy concept. I have more than once quit jobs, because I felt I did not belong there any longer, that I should do something different, though at that point I had no clue what that ‘something’ was. But once a decision is taken to let go of that which does not ring in harmony to your inner music, you find your music soon enough. I, in fact, feel that the moment one’s mind decides to move out of the space that does not ring true, that decision creates and carves a path, which takes you where you belong at that point in time.
Almost always, there is a period of testing and trying, but it passes, and your heart settles into a space that feels right. No place or space is final or absolute. But evolution means embracing change. If change comes at a price, so does everything else in life, including security. You have to consider the price and if you want what it offers, agree to pay it. If every step is lived with awareness and is a conscious choice, the price paid is usually worth it.
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